Skip to main content

Full text of "NightRider"

See other formats

though he knew that work waited for him at his office, that
obligations were, one after another, slipping past the promised
date of fulfilment, he could not bring himself to go to town,
to meet the men whom he had seen commonly and pleasantly,
to say the things which he had so often said before, to sit at
the desk where he had sat. He only went in when the pres-
sure of business was so great that it could not be ignored, or
when the girl who worked for him telephoned to remind him
of an appointment of special importance.

The strange thing—and the strangeness of it grew upon
him day after day—was that he was almost glad for May's
absence. He had been almost glad that morning after the
death of Trevelyan, when he woke up, in the full light of day,
to find the house empty except for the negro cook, who silently
set the food before him and watched him with a furtive and
insolent curiosity. He had waked on the couch in the living-
room and had stared at the ceiling while the feelings of un-
ease, loss, and isolation that filled him, achieved in memory,
as a saturated solution settles out its characteristic crystals, the
precise structure of fact and chronology.

He was stiff and cramped from lying on the couch, and his
mouth dry as though from drinking. He rose slowly from
the couch and walked, with an almost experimental motion,
across the carpet to the front windows. There, he flung back
the curtains and let the full brilliance of the sunlight strike
into the room. That light, falling across the window-sill and
spreading over the carpet at his feet to illuminate the marks
worn by long and familiar use, seemed almost to deny his
recollections. The carpet was prevailingly blue, a dull blue,
with a large design of flowers, blue too. But it was so worn
and faded that for large tracts the design was lost. At his feet
Mr, Munn could see the coarse, brownish cords of the founda-
tion fabric, for the nap at that spot had been trodden almost
entirely away. Morning and evening, people had stood here
to adjust the curtains, or, alone in the room, to stare for a
moment out across the yard and beyond the maple trees to
the pasture. Fleetingly, Mr. Munn thought of those pecf1^